With an extended quotation from Peggy Noonan’s most-recent Wall Street Journal column, Glenn Reynolds gets right to the heart of what we’re experience. Here’s a bit from Noonan:
What struck me about the [focus] group wasn’t its new insights, which were few. What was powerful was its averageness, its confirmation of what you’ve already observed. The members weren’t sad, precisely, but they were unillusioned. They were seeing things with clean eyes and they were disappointed. They wanted a candidate they could trust and believe in.
We don’t trust or like either candidate for president. We don’t think our children will be better off than we are. We don’t like that we’re forbidden from setting up our own safe-spaces (if they conflict with beliefs we’re told are beyond dispute). We don’t like the level of anxiety we’re forced to live under (often so that politicians can claim they have a problem to solve with new laws).
We’ve been fundamentally transformed.
Many of these trends were underway well before Obama stepped into the Oval Office, but as for the government-driven redefinition of marriage after the institution had been somewhat undermined by the culture and no-fault divorce, the point isn’t that the new thing is entirely new. It’s that it locks it in. Progressives’ project during the Obama Era has been to make it more difficult to go back and fix some of the errors that they’ve pushed us to make.
Sometimes I think what we’re seeing in 2016 is like the howl of a cartoon cat who was badly injured but couldn’t immediately vocalize the pain. We haven’t been permitted to really be honest about the harm that Obama’s been doing — partly because of his race, partly because the media gatekeepers haven’t allowed it, and partly because his corrupt administration has suppressed our ability to organize. So now that we’re almost away from the thing that was keeping us from shouting (whether it was a sleeping dog or a precarious rock that we didn’t want to disturb with our echoes), our scream has awakened Clinton and Trump.
And if these are the choices our system produces at such a time, the prospect of actually healing our society seems like an impossible undertaking.